TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized Sunday for being “hammered” in public and acknowledged the need to curb his drinking, but the mayor of Canada’s largest city didn’t address allegations of drug use and said he will remain in his job despite mounting pressure for him to resign.
“I’m going to weather this storm,” Ford said.
Ford made his remarks on his local weekly radio show at a time when he is facing growing pressure to resign after police said they had obtained a copy of a video that appears to show him puffing on a crack cocaine pipe. Ford didn’t address the contents of the tape, saying he cannot comment on a tape he hasn’t seen.
“I just got to maybe slow down on my drinking,” Ford said.
Ford acknowledged making “mistakes” and that he can’t change the past, but vowed “to ride the storm out.”
“I want to move forward but to move forward I also have to make changes in my life which I will assure I will do,” Ford said.
Ford declined to take a leave of absence or resign.
“I sincerely apologize, there’s absolutely no excuse, no one to blame but myself,” Ford said. “I am going to fight like no one has seen before to win the next election.”
Ford said he shouldn’t have been drunk in public when he appeared at the Taste of the Danforth street festival in August.
“That was pure stupidity,” Ford said. “I shouldn’t have got hammered down at the Danforth. If you are going to have a couple of drinks, you stay at home and that’s it. You don’t make a public spectacle of yourself,” Ford said.
Ford also said he got “a little out of control” after St. Patrick’s Day in 2012. A city spokeswoman released last week an incident report from city hall security guards who said they witnessed a “very intoxicated’ Ford having trouble walking and swearing at aides that day.
The incident report said that at 2:30 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, Ford “visited the security desk alone with a half empty bottle of St. Remy French Brandy.” The report states the mayor said his car had been stolen and that he wanted to call police. Security told Ford his car was at home and took the bottle from him before finding him a taxi.
Ford said you can’t be “running around with a half bottle of brandy” at City Hall at 2 a.m.
Ford met Saturday with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who had said he wanted to express the concerns of city council members after news of the video emerged. Police on Thursday announced that the video had been recovered from a computer hard drive during an investigation of an associate of the mayor suspected of providing him with drugs.
Municipal law makes no provision for Ford’s forced removal from office unless he’s convicted and jailed for a criminal offense. Voters may have the final word in the October 2014 mayoral election, in which Ford has said he plans to run.